London conf. to host Syria opp., ‘London 11’: UK

British Foreign Secretary William Hague says London will hold an international conference hosting the Syrian opposition and the so-called “London 11” as a preparation for the planned Geneva II peace talks.

Hague said on Friday representatives of the Syrian opposition and the foreign ministers of the “London 11” — which includes Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE and the US — will take part in the meeting.

He added that conference would “discuss preparations for the Geneva Conference, support for the [opposition] Syrian National Coalition, and our efforts to achieve a political settlement to this tragic conflict.”

The announcement came as Russia and the US have been pushing to bring the Syrian government and the opposition to the negotiating table.

The United States says it is making efforts to convince so-called Syrian National Council (SNC) to join the peace talks planned for next month in Geneva.

“There have been many ups and downs in this process. And that’s not unexpected given how challenging the situation is on the ground,” US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.

“But we continue to press for the opposition to have a representative body at the Geneva conference,” she added.

The SNC, which is the biggest bloc within the foreign-sponsored Syrian opposition coalition, has said that it would not join the forthcoming Geneva 2 conference on the ongoing crisis in the Arab country, and would quit the coalition if it partakes in the conference.

The Geneva 2 conference is seen as a chance to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The event has been delayed for months, but Moscow and Washington are now trying to fix a date for it in mid-November.

Russia and China have urged the presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the conference.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on October 11 that Western countries are on the right track regarding their attitude to Iran’s participation in the peace talks on the Syrian issue.

On September 29, UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi stated that it would be beneficial if Iran takes part in the Geneva 2 conference and there is the possibility of inviting the Islamic Republic.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. Reports indicate that the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the violence.

By Press TV


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